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Enjoying Your Retirement Years In Turkey

6 min read

Enjoying Your Retirement Years In Turkey

Retirement is a long-awaited chapter for many expats seeking to disconnect from years of hard work. All the time dedicated to creating, protecting and multiplying wealth must be rewarded with amazing golden years.

Perhaps your home country is not the best place for retirees, so you yearn for one that allows your money to go a long way without compromising on the lifestyle you want to have. A country that combines a low cost of living (including housing), delicious and nutritious food and cities to your liking must exist. 

Wouldn’t you love to discover a country that caters to your dream lifestyle, offers comfort and promises adventures? That country is the land where East meets West: Turkey.

Turkey is not only renowned for its rich history and vibrant culture but also stands tall as a hidden gem for retirees seeking a new place to call home. We’ll explore visas, lifestyle and everything in between so that you get the big picture of Turkey as a retirement destination that must be on your radar. Let’s begin.

 

Istanbul Cityscape In Turkey With Galata Tower  - Retirement marks a new chapter in life, and what better place to script this chapter than the enchanting landscapes of Turkey? Here's why retiring in Turkey is not just an option but an enticing opportunity for a fulfilling and relaxed lifestyle.

Istanbul Cityscape In Turkey With Galata Tower

NO RETIREMENT VISA? NO PROBLEM

Unlike other popular expat destinations such as Colombia and Panama, Turkey doesn’t offer a specific retirement visa. But this doesn’t make Turkey a bad place for retirement. In fact, thanks to the different visas available, you’ll be able to access all the allures this country has in store. 

According to the government’s official website, there are six types of residence permits: 

  • Short-term residence permit;

  • Family residence permit;

  • Long-term residence permit;

  • Student residence permit;

  • Humanitarian residence permit;

  • Residence permit for victims of human trafficking.

The first three are the most popular not only among retirees but also among different kinds of expats. Also, in a previous article, we discussed the various ways expats can obtain Turkish citizenship by investment. If you’re in a good financial position, you can invest in real estate, government bonds, or even create jobs, among other options. Let’s check the visas retirees often use to secure their golden years in the Republic of Turkey.

 

Aerial Photography of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey - With its diverse geography, Turkey provides an array of outdoor activities.

Aerial Photography of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

SHORT-TERM RESIDENCE PERMIT

The advantage of this permit is that it’s suitable for many types of expats. According to Articles 31-33 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, scientists, students, on-the-job trainees, tourists, and many more can apply. However, let’s focus on the categories that may interest retirees the most:

  • Foreigners who would like to own immovable property in Turkey: To be eligible, the property must be used as a primary residence. On top of that, if other family members reside in the same house, they can also apply for this permit, which makes it a family-friendly election. This option is appealing in case you want to test the waters without committing to purchasing real estate worth $500,000. Renting a property to obtain this residency permit is an excellent way to explore Turkey before making a final decision.

  • Foreigners who intend to receive medical treatment for a disease that doesn’t pose a public health threat: You might not need to have health insurance as long as you certify all the expenses are paid. However, you might be required to provide documents and information regarding treatment. 

  • Foreigners who will attend a language course: You can only apply for this purpose twice if you enroll in an institution authorized by the Ministry of National Education to teach Turkish. If you embark on a course with a duration of less than a year, your residence permit cannot exceed the course’s timeframe. 

  • Foreigners who wish to stay for tourism purposes. 

Other categories eligible for obtaining this residence permit include citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, individuals seeking to establish commercial and business connections and those enrolling in educational programs, among other groups. With a variety of opportunities available, Turkey welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

 

Alley in Balat, Istanbul, Turkey - Access to quality healthcare is a crucial factor for retirees. Turkey boasts modern healthcare facilities, making medical services easily accessible. Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your health needs are well taken care of.

Alley in Balat, Istanbul, Turkey

LONG-TERM RESIDENCE PERMIT

This is the perfect option if you’ve been living in Turkey long enough. According to Articles 42-45 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, the governorates (a regional administrative division similar to a state or province), with the approval of the Ministry of Interior, will issue a long-term residence permit to foreigners who have been continuous residents of Turkey for at least eight years on a permit. 

However, refugees, conditional refugees, subsidiary protection beneficiaries, humanitarian residence permit holders and persons under temporary protection cannot transfer to a long-term residence permit. 

To be eligible for a long-term residence permit in Turkey, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Residing continuously in Turkey for a minimum of eight years; 

  • Possessing valid medical insurance;

  • No history of benefiting from social assistance in the past three years;

  • Having an adequate and stable income to support themselves and their family if applicable;

  • No record of posing a threat to public order or public security.

The rights you’ll enjoy as a long-term resident are numerous. You’ll have the same rights as Turkish citizens, with some exceptions. You’ll have the right to social security benefits, subject to conditions stipulated in the applicable legislation. On the other hand, you won’t be liable to compulsory military conscription. Still, you won’t have the right to vote and be elected, enter public service, and exemption from customs duties when importing vehicles. 

Finally, it’s important to consider the circumstances under which your long-term residence permit can be cancelled: 

  • When you pose a serious public security or public order threat;

  • When you stay out of Turkey continuously for more than one year for reasons other than health, education, or compulsory service in their country. 

 

Colorful building in Balat, Instambul - The beauty of Turkey's landscapes is unparalleled. Wake up to breathtaking views and vibrant colors that change with the seasons. Whether it's the azure waters of the Mediterranean or the captivating allure of historical sites, the beauty of your location will be a constant source of joy.

Colorful building in Balat, Instambul

FAMILY RESIDENCE PERMIT

This is a great option, for example, if you’re married to a Turkish national. According to Articles 34-37 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, a family residence permit can be granted for a maximum of three years to the following individuals: 

  • Foreign spouses of Turkish citizens, persons under Article 28 of Law 5901, foreigners holding other types of residence permits, refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries;

  • Foreign children or foreign minor children of their spouse;

  • Dependent foreign children or dependent foreign children of their spouse.

The sponsor (the person who is already a resident in Turkey and is applying for a family residence permit on behalf of their family members) must meet the following conditions:

  • Having a monthly income worth at least the minimum wage for each family member, totalling at least one-third of the minimum wage;

  • Having resided in Turkey for at least one year on a residence permit;

  • Be registered with the address-based registration based system;

  • Providing a criminal record certificate showing that they have not been convicted of any family-offence-related crime during the five years before the application; 

  • Living in a house that meets the general health and safety standards, appropriate for the number of family members;

  • Having medical insurance that covers all family members.

On the other hand, foreigners applying for a family residence permit to stay with a sponsor in Turkey must:

  • Submit information and documents to confirm eligibility as per Article 34 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection;

  • Assert that they live or intend to live together with the persons listed in Article 34;

  • Not have married a Turkish citizen just to obtain a family residence permit;

  • Be over 18 years old for each spouse;

  • Not fall within the scope of Article 7 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (for example, a child born to a married Turkish parent, whether in Turkey or abroad, or a child born to a Turkish mother and a laine father out of wedlock).

Finally, it’s important to consider the circumstances under which your family residence permit can be cancelled:

  • The conditions specified in Articles 35(1) and 35(2) are not met or no longer apply;

  • A short-term residence permit application is refused when the conditions for getting a family residence permit no longer apply;

  • If it is determined that the permit is being used for purposes other than its intended purpose;

  • There is a valid removal decision or an entry ban to Turkey for foreigners.

 

People flying in a balloon over Cappadocia -  Many towns offer excellent facilities and amenities, ensuring that your daily needs are easily met. - Turkey is a haven for food enthusiasts, and retirement is the perfect time to savor the diverse and delicious cuisine. Explore local markets for fresh produce and indulge in the culinary delights of Turkish restaurants, creating a delightful retirement experience for your taste buds.

People flying in a balloon over Cappadocia

LIFESTYLE IN TURKEY FOR RETIREES

Once you get the right visa for you, you can expect a treasure trove of delights. Turkey is a culturally rich and historically significant country that captures the hearts of expats from various backgrounds, including retirees, in search of a fulfilling and memorable retirement. 

Turkey’s charm starts with its past as the home of the former Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. For history enthusiasts, the country offers an awe-inspiring blend of civilizations and historical landmarks. From the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the iconic Hagia Sophia, Turkey’s diverse cultural heritage attracts retirees to dive into time travel. 

Beyond its historical charm, Turkey welcomes retirees with open arms and a vibrant expat community. Despite occasional instances of crime, mostly in Kurdistan and the Syrian border, Turkish people are known for being friendly and eager to assist newcomers. The expat community is especially prominent in Ankara and Istanbul, offering retirees a chance to forge lasting connections with both locals and fellow retirees. 

Another advantage of Turkey is its diverse climate, which results in breathtaking landscapes and a myriad of outdoor activities for retirees to relax after years of hard work. The country’s extensive coastline boasts beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean and Aegean shores. Inland, the Pontic and Taurus mountains offer hiking opportunities. During winter, retirees can also enjoy the ski resorts of Uludağ and Palandöken.

We cannot neglect Turkish cuisine, as it’s one of the major allures of this country. With such a wide range of dishes that cater to all different tastes and diets, it’s impossible not to find something you love. From kebabs seasoned to perfection to fresh mezes and iconic sweets like baklava, retirees can embark on a culinary journey to please their taste buds. The local food markets, filled with fresh products and Turkish street food, take the experience to a whole different level. 

Last but surely not least, the cost of living is a significant advantage for retirees, offering an affordable and comfortable lifestyle. Dining out, transportation, accommodation, and everyday expenses are reasonably priced, which helps retirees make the most of their retirement funds. 

Even the most expensive cities, Istanbul and Ankara, come with an affordable price tag compared to other European destinations. Still, if you want to find even cheaper options without compromising on quality, you can choose from cities like Izmir, Bursa and Antalya. 

 

The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul - Turkey is renowned for its hospitality, and this extends to services catering to retirees. Experience a warm and welcoming atmosphere where everyone is valued, and assistance is readily available if needed. The sense of community is strong, fostering connections with locals and fellow retirees.

The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul

CONCLUSION

With its different residence permits, Turkey offers various pathways for retirees to enjoy the charm of Turkey. Whether you’ve been living in Turkey for a long time, are married to a Turkish citizen or have other circumstances, you can find your path of least resistance toward this residency. 

Also, Turkey is an inviting country that delights retirees with its rich history, warm hospitality, diverse landscapes, mouthwatering cuisine, and cost-effective lifestyle. This country has already captivated multiple retirees, and rest assured that it will keep doing it.

For retirees seeking a place where past and present merge harmoniously, Turkey offers the perfect mix of culture, nature and community, creating the perfect stage to savour the golden years.

 


WORK WITH ME

I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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